The UFC has now had three consecutive controversial decisions in main events. In the first two controversial decisions, nearly everybody involved has been blamed. This time, the joke is on us.
After the fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauicio Rua, fans expressed their outrage with the judges for awarding a decision clearly not supported by the majority of fans and media people. The fact that many people must have been influenced by questionable commentary is beside the point. People weren't happy with the decision, and they needed to blame somebody.
Cecil Peoples in particular was singled out for ridicule after saying some half-baked remarks regarding the scoring of the fight, but Peoples wasn't alone in receiving the blame.
The UFC was blamed for the judging controversy, as many fans felt that the decision was arranged by the UFC. Unknown to these people is the fact that the judges are appointed by the athletic commissions, not by the UFC.
Even the fighters don't seem to understand this point. After the Machida decision, Rampage Jackson blamed the UFC for the decision and stated that the UFC needs to get new judges. Tito Ortiz said something similar following his decision loss to Griffin.
Another casualty in the initial controversy was Machida, who instantly seemed to go from being fan favorite to enemy of the state.
I don't know how people can blame Machida simply for not thinking that he lost a fight that incidentally three judges thought he won, but if there is one thing people can do, it's finding a way to blame somebody.
The good news for Machida is that if fans are this quick to blame him, hopefully they'll be just as quick to praise him again if he can defeat Shogun in the rematch.
After the decision in the Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera fight, people could no longer blame one or two judges. The new target became the whole judging system.
At least in this fight, people didn't crucify Couture like they did Machida. This time the blame was at least narrowed to something possibly responsible for the problem.
MMA scoring criteria used by athletic commissions aren't perfect, but they certainly aren't the only problem, as we saw last Saturday.
Last Saturday a much larger problem emerged. In the fight between Machida and Shogun, while there were many fans who felt that Machida deserved to win the decision, there were almost no media experts who felt the same way.
There were only a few exceptions.
In the Forrest vs Tito fight, the fans and media experts were all over the map.
The most common scoring for the fight was probably 29-28 for Forrest Griffin, but I saw online that many people scored the fight 29-28 for Ortiz, while others went as far as 30-26 for Griffin.
BloodyElbow.com posted an article expressing outrage that a judge could possibly have scored the fight for Ortiz. BloodyElbow was far from alone in scoring the fight 30-26 for Griffin.
Apparently the problem isn't just with the judging system.
So who do we blame now?
We can't blame one particular judge, because there have been too many judges responsible for the three recent decisions, and the recent judging controversy has shown us that we can't blame the judging system itself.
There are some fundamental issues that need to be resolved to rectify this situation. I'm still working on that article. For now, let's just stop blaming everybody else.
This time the joke is on us.